History Center and Island TV collaborate on second COVID video

May 30, 2021
By Marcy Shortuse

SUBMITTED BY THE BOCA GRANDE HISTORICAL SOCIETY – Last year in the early days of COVID, the History Center and Island TV worked together to document the reaction of individuals, businesses and organizations to the virus. Now the two groups have produced a follow-up video program, “COVID-19 and Boca Grande Revisited” about how the community has fared in the past year. The documentary can be viewed at bocagrandetv.com. There is also a link on the Historical Society website, bocagrandehistoricalsociety.com. 

Included are reports from the Boca Grande Health Clinic, Barrier Island Parks Society, Gulf to Bay/Sotheby’s Realty, Gasparilla Outfitters, the Historical Society and History Center, Lighthouse Methodist Church, Royal Palm Players, Scarpa’s Coastal and several island residents. Their stories demonstrate how participants progressed beyond the fear they felt a year ago to form and execute plans for the 2020-21 season, and how they now value what they learned in the process of responding to challenges.  

Many credit the generosity of the Boca Grande Woman’s Club in supporting businesses and individuals during an uncertain time.

Jim Blaha of the History Center notes that in both videos he wanted to document the island during COVID as important to history.   

“As a historian myself, I know how important primary sources, direct first-person accounts, will be when researchers try to understand 2020-21,”  

He added that video is an excellent medium because, “the viewer not only hears the expressions of those being interviewed but also is able to view facial cues and gestures which might confirm, emphasize or cast doubt on the validity of responses to the interviewer.”

Rick Montgomery of Island TV commented that a common theme through all the stories is the appreciation felt for the strong support from the island community. Rick describes the production experience as “incredible, seeing the perspectives from the islanders and how they adapted to the changes that took place reaffirmed my faith in the amazing community that we have on the island.”

The History Center and Historical Society are busy fielding requests for information and welcoming visitors to their exhibits. To visit the Center, please call 964-1600 or email kkyle@leegov.com to arrange an appointment. Masks and social distancing guidelines are being observed. If you would like to lend photos, letters or other information to the archives, they are able to scan the materials and return the originals.